Spend Matters Afternoon Coffee

This week's thoughts from Danny Ertel...
Fee negotiations continued: You negotiate like you prepare -- The first and most important gap in what is a critical moment in the lawyer-client relationship is that the participants do not treat the fee discussion as an important negotiation. Clients often come in with little preparation, defaulting to just asking for a discount from whatever outside counsel proposes as a rate or a total fee. Law firm partners often approach fee discussions as if they are not really a negotiation, but an unavoidable awkward moment where they have to give voice to some kind of an estimate of what they expect to bill for the work, or to profess that it's "all too unpredictable" even to do that.

Political spending disclosures...
Political-Spending Disclosure Plans Could Have Hidden Costs -- What's wrong with more corporate political transparency? Nothing, in theory. But as attorney Keith Paul Bishop points out below, these proposals often come from unions and other organizations with their own agendas, and may impose unforeseen costs on companies. Bishop has some authority to speak on the topic, which is why I decided to run his thoughts here. A former California Commissioner of Corporations, he's now a partner with Allen Matkins in Orange County, Calif. Note: While Bishop says he doesn't represent any corporations facing such political disclosure measures right now, he could at any time.

Starbucks hits up India.
After a Year of Delays, the First Starbucks Is to Open in Tea-Loving India This Fall -- After years of studying the Indian market, Starbucks Coffee said Monday that it would open its first store here by September through a 50-50 joint venture with Tata Global Beverages, a unit of the largest business group in India.

Austerity hurts.
In Studios and Grand Halls, Feeling a Pinch From Italy -- As Italy's new government scrambles to stave off economic disaster, the budget cuts it has imposed are rippling through Italian institutions in New York City, slicing into paychecks and prompting plans to shut down a venerable state-owned television operation. At the Italian consulate on the Upper East Side, staff members have had their salaries reduced, and officials there are considering closing their nearest satellite office, in Newark. Downstairs, at the Italian American Committee on Education, the annual budget was reduced by about a third. Several blocks away, the Italian trade commission staved off an auction of the mansion it occupies, but has stopped running advertisements for its Made in Italy campaign.

- Sheena Moore

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